A “Patriot Prayer Rally” will be taking place in Portland, Oregon this weekend, and there are fears that the event may wind up being even more violent than last summer’s deadly violence in Charlottesville.
As Huffington Post reports, members of two far-right groups, Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys, are set to hold a rally in Portland on Saturday and Sunday. Both of those groups are armed. They’re expected to be met by counter-protesters, possibly including some from Antifa – which is itself known to be violent as well.
If things go south, says Huffington Post writer Christopher Mathias, it could be worse than Charlottesville.
Who Are Patriot Prayer, The Proud Boys, And Antifa?
Patriot Prayer is a far-right group that has ties to white supremacist organizations and beliefs. Officially, according to an August 2017 NPR News report, the group is simply a far-right (but not “alt-right”) organization that supports Donald Trump and free speech, and seeks to “liberate” conservatives on the West Coast.
The group’s leader, Joey Gibson, insists that his group is not about white supremacy or white nationalism.
Proud Boys, according to The Toronto Sun, are a group of alt-right men who “refuse to apologize for creating the modern world,” or for Western culture in general. Like Patriot Prayer, they’ve been accused of having ties to white supremacy and white nationalism – claims that they deny.
On Saturday, the far-right group Patriot Prayer is holding a “Freedom March” in Portland, OR, to support the candidacy of the group’s founder, Joey Gibson, who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat. Here's what you need to know about the rally. https://t.co/QECP0FWf9A pic.twitter.com/yyxRU8l51n
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) August 1, 2018
Antifa, short for “Anti Fascist,” is a violet leftist group that has been known to inflict violence on those that it deems fascist, according to BBC News.
The Deadly Violence In Charlottesville
On the weekend of August 11 and August 12, 2017, various right-wing groups and counter-protesters descended on the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, ostensibly to protest the removal of a Confederate monument from a city park. Violent clashes between the two groups broke out, and when the dust had settled, one woman had died and dozens of people were injured.
On Aug. 7, "Documenting Hate: Charlottesville" goes inside the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally, and explores how it became a watershed moment for white supremacists in America. https://t.co/ua0bOENq3w pic.twitter.com/8o2q9e5qZz
— FRONTLINE (@frontlinepbs) August 3, 2018
Fears Of A Repeat In Portland
Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, says that the convergence of the three groups, and Oregon’s free-wheeling gun laws, make for a potentially deadly mix.
“Oregon is an open carry state and unlike previous events, these groups are not expecting to be disarmed by law enforcement.”
Meanwhile, she notes that all three groups have been using social media to talk about how much they’re looking forward to the rally and “confronting” the other side.